When I was growing up in New York in the early 1980s, pizza pretty much meant one thing: thin crust, tomato sauce and mozzarella, baked in a gas deck oven.
But like everything else in the culinary world, pizza has gone the "artisanal" route in the past decade. These days, you can choose between ultra-thin crust or deep dish, tomato sauce bases or “white pies,” baked in coal- or wood-burning ovens, and featuring a range of toppings – squash blossoms, fresh arugula, candied pecans and so on -- that you would never associate with pizza.
Now Fort Worth has two more restaurants to add to an already diverse roster of pizza makers in town.
First up is Cane Rosso, perhaps the most hotly anticipated of Fort Worth’s many new restaurants in 2014. The original location, in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, became a word-of-mouth sensation when it first opened in early 2011. When Cane Rosso began selling it pies from a food truck here in Fort Worth in 2012, the legend only grew.
But finally Cane Rosso has a Fort Worth location, in the former Ryan’s Grocery on Magnolia Avenue. Be prepared for waits – or do what we did, and try to find an offbeat time to go. (We turned up at 1:30 p.m. on a recent Thursday.) My other advice is to go with a large group, so you can sample as many different pies from the menu as possible.
Cane Rosso specializes in what it calls “authentic Neapolitan pizza,” a thin crust that’s crispy around the sides and chewier near the center. They are also sticklers for carefully-sourced, house-made ingredients: Both the tomato sauce (from San Marzano tomatoes) and mozzarella are created fresh each day. On our visit, we tried both the Zoli (local sausage,hot soppressata, basil) and the Vegetalle (mushrooms, artichokes, roasted grape tomatoes, caramelized onions, olives, basil, rapini, sea salt). We slightly preferred the spicy kick of the Zoli, but both were excellent choices. Along with a starter salad to share, it made for a satisfying (and satisfyingly affortable) lunch for three, with a few left-over slices to take home.
The other new pizza joint of note raises the art of options to a whole new level: At Pizza Snob, located on University Drive, near TCU, diners order at the counter, where a personal-sized pizza dough is topped with whatever you choose. The sauce options range from the familiar (plum tomato) to the unexpected (buttermilk afredo), and the toppings include such offerings as candied jalapenos and beer-glazed onions (along with more traditional items, like pepperoni and mushrooms).
On a recent visit, I created a pizza topped with tomato sauce, goat cheese, potatoes, and spicy salami – and gobbled up the finished creation in about five minutes flat. (You can also choose from three daily, house-created specials – but what’s the fun in that?) Based on the crowd when we visited, it looks like Pizza Snob will be especially popular with the TCU crowd. The $7.99 cost for a personal pizza is definitely appealing to those on a college budget.
The only drawback to all these new pizza options is that, well, your doctor would probably discourage you from eating pizza seven days a week – and how else are you also going to squeeze in visits to such estimable Fort Worth pizza joints as Fireside Pies, Pie Five and Hysen's Nizza Pizza?
May the force of the mozzarella – and a low cholesterol report at your next check-up – be with you.